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RISMEDIA, September 13, 2010—If you could be granted one wish to change something about yourself, what would you choose? When American adults were asked if they would want to be richer, thinner, smarter, or younger, a large plurality (43%) professed that they would want to be richer.

These are some of the findings of a new Adweek Media/Harris Poll survey of 2,163 U.S. adults surveyed online between July 27 and 29, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

One in five (21%) Americans said they would like to be thinner, 14% said smarter and 12% said younger. One in ten (9%) said they would not want to choose any of the given options. While all of the options are generally considered positive changes that one could make, different groups of Americans say they would choose different traits.

Differences by gender
It appears men and women view these traits slightly differently. Although just 14% of both men and women say they would choose to be smarter, that’s the only characteristic they agree on. More men say that they would choose to be richer (46%, compared to 41% of women), while 29% of women say they would most want to be thinner, compared to just 14% of men who say the same. And while women may have the stereotype of lying about their age, 16% of men say they would most want to be younger, compared to just 8% of women who say the same.

Differences by age
Not surprisingly, American adults’ desires change, depending on their age and circumstances. Predictably, older Americans are more likely to want to be younger—19% of those aged 55 and older say this, compared to 14% of those aged 45-54, 12% of those 35-44, and just 4% of those who are 18-34 years old. It is also not surprising that young adults who may be early in their careers or starting families are more focused on their finances than are adults in later life-stages. Half of Americans aged 18-34 (50%) and 35-44 (53%) say they would most want to be richer, compared to 41% of those aged 45-54, and just one-third (34%) of adults aged 55 and older say the same. Similarly, adults with children in the household also think of their purse-strings, as almost half (48%) of adults with children in the home say they would want to be richer, compared to two in five (41%) adults who do not have children at home.

It’s always entertaining to fantasize about what you would want if you could change something about yourself. However, for Americans who say they most want to be richer (43%) or thinner (21%), the good news is that they don’t need to rely on a fairy godmother. It’s interesting to note that the largest percentages of Americans’ desires represent changes that are more or less achievable, through smart choices, hard work and dedication.

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